'Antisemitic' robbers target French Jewish family

Attackers entered the family's home in a Paris suburb on Thursday, holding them hostage and beating them


A family was beaten and robbed in their home near Paris because they were Jewish, French authorities have said. 

Attackers entered the home in Livry-Gargan, a suburb of the French capital, late on Thursday night. 

They cut off the electricity, before holding three members of the Jewish family hostage and threatening to kill them. 

One of the victims managed to escape and alert the police, according to antisemitism watchdog BNVCA, as authorities and anti-hate groups confirmed yesterday the family were targeted because of their religion. 

According to a BNVCA statement, the attackers told the victims: "You are Jews, you have money. We take money from Jews to give to the poor."

The assailants made off with jewellery, cash and credit cards

The victims were Roger Pinto, the 78-year-old head of Siona, an association “defending the Jewish people and the state of Israel", his wife and his son, according to Mr Pinto’s lawyer, Marc Bensimon. 

Mr Pinto was kicked several times in the head, Mr Bensimon said.

Francis Kalifat, president of CRIF, a group of French Jewish organisations, said: “This horrible act is proof that Jews in France are particularly threatened in the street, and even in their homes."

The European Jewish Congress (EJC) echoed the condemnation and called for stronger measures to be taken by French authorities on "societal antisemitism and its passive acceptance".

It drew a link between the attack and the admission by a former headmaster in Marseilles that he advised Jews not to attend his school for fear of harassment from other students.

“Unfortunately, we see these two incidents, and many others, as intertwined, where parts of French society are becoming increasingly anti-Semitic on the one hand, and this hate towards Jews is being accepted and tolerated by other parts,” Moshe Kantor, President of the EJC, said. “We call on French authorities to firmly root out societal Antisemitism and its passive acceptance.”

Mr Kantor added: "We appreciated the important words of the French Government in trying to make Jews feel safe in their country, however, it doesn’t appear that much has changed on the ground for French Jews who are still regularly attacked.
“If in a society where free education as a basic right for all citizens is being denied some Jews because of safety matters it is clear that the central principals of the Republic is failing them.”

French interior minister Gerard Collomb promised a major effort to arrest those responsible “for this cowardly act (which) appears directly linked to the victims’ religion”. 

Police said they had opened a formal inquiry into whether the illegal detention, theft and extortion was motivated by the religious affiliation of the victims.

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